Northeast Region, Brazil

Northeast Region, Brazil
Northeast Region
Região Nordeste
—  Region  —
Location of Northeast Region in Brazil
Country  Brazil
Largest cities Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife
States AL, BA, CE, MA, PB, PE, PI, RN and SE
 - Region 1,558,196 km2 (601,622.8 sq mi)
Area rank 3rd
Population (2005 census)
 - Region 51,065,275
 - Estimate (2009) 53,591,197
 - Rank 2nd
 - Density 32.8/km2 (84.9/sq mi)
 - Density rank 3rd
 Urban 71.5%
 - Year 2007 estimate
 - Total R$347,797,041,000 (3rd)
 - Per capita R$6,749 (5th)
 - Year 2005/2006
 - Category 0.720 – medium (5th)
 - Life expectancy 69 years (5th)
 - Infant mortality 36.9% (5th)
 - Literacy 79.3% (5th)
Time zone BRT (UTC-03)
 - Summer (DST) BRST (UTC-02)

The Northeast Region of Brazil (Portuguese: Região Nordeste do Brasil) is composed of the following states: Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia, and it represents 18.26% of the Brazilian territory.

The Northeast Region has a population of 53.6 million people, which represents 28% of the total number in the whole country. Most of the population lives in urban areas and about 15 million people live in the sertão. It is famous in Brazil for its hot weather, beautiful beaches, rich culture (unique folklore, music, cuisine, literature), Carnival and St. John's festivities, the sertão and being the birthplace of the country.

The biggest cities are Salvador, Fortaleza and Recife, which are the regional metropolitan areas of the Northeast, all with a population above a million inhabitants and metropolitan areas above 3.5 million.

Salvador International Airport, Recife International Airport and Fortaleza International Airport connects the Northeast region with many Brazilian cities and also operates some internationally scheduled and chartered flights. The Nordeste, according to Infraero, has the second largest number of passengers (roughly 20%) in Brazil.

The Northeast is home to several universities, museums, theaters, churches, and historical landmarks of colonial Brazil.


Geography and climate

Geographically, the Northeast consists chiefly of an eroded continental craton with many low hills and small ranges. The highest peaks are around 1,850 metres (6,070 ft) in Bahia, while further north there are no peaks above 1,123 metres (3,684 ft). On its northern and western side, the plateaus fall steadily to the coast and into the basin of the Tocantins River in Maranhão, but on the eastern side it falls off quite sharply to the coast except in the valley of the São Francisco river. The steep slopes and long cliffs of the eastern coastline are known as "The Great Escarpment".

The escarpment serves an extremely important climatic function. Because for most of the year the Nordeste is out of reach of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, the easterly trade winds blow across the region, giving abundant rainfall to the coast but producing clear, dry conditions inland where the escarpment blocks moisture flow. This gives rise to four distinct regions, the zona da mata on the coast, the agreste on the escarpment, sertão beyond and the Mid north.

nordeste da mata(Atlantic Rainforest zone)

On the humid eastern littoral, before European settlement was a long thin area of tropical rainforest with species completely different from those found in the much larger Amazon rainforest, known as the Mata Atlantica. Because of the fact that the climate was extremely suitable for the cultivation of sugar cane, however, very little of the forest remains today. For many years, sugar cane cultivation in this region was the mainstay of Brazil's economy, being superseded only when coffee production developed in the late nineteenth century. The sugar cane is cultivated on large estates and the owners of these had and maintain tremendous political influence.


Since the escarpment does not generate any further rainfall on its slopes from the lifting of the trade winds, annual rainfall decreases steadily inland. After a relatively short distance, there is no longer enough rainfall to support tropical rainforest, especially since the rainfall is extremely erratic from year to year. This transitional zone is known as the agreste and because it is located on the steep escarpment, was not generally used whilst flatter land was abundant. Today, with irrigation water available, however, the agreste, as its name suggest, is a major farming region despite containing no major city, contains well developed medium large cities such as Caruaru, Campina Grande and Arapiraca.

Sertão Nordestino (North-Eastern Backlands)

People who live in these arid areas generally do not have enough water for their subsistence and need to walk long distances to obtain it. Many times these people, who are generally poor, give up and go to live in the big cities like São Paulo, Recife, Salvador or Rio de Janeiro. A well known case is that of the former Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who lived in Caetés, and moved early in childhood with the family to Santos, where he worked in the streets in his teens. Brazilian poet João Cabral de Melo Neto, who was born in Recife, wrote poems such as Morte e Vida Severina, Cemitério Pernambucano, and A Educação Pela Pedra, that illustrate well the bleak living conditions of these arid backlands.

Meio Norte Nordestino (Northeast Mid North)

It is a transition area between the high rainfalls region of amazonas and the semi arid region of sertão (hot and drought). Covers the states of Maranhão and half of Piaui.


The Northeast was primarily inhabited by indigenous peoples, mostly speaking languages of the Tupi–Guarani family, who, before the colonial era, helped Europeans with the extraction of brazilwood from the coastal rainforest (or mata atlântica) in exchange for spices. But as colonization and commercial interest intensified in the region the number of Indians became drastically reduced due to the constant battles with the owners of the large sugar mills. Conflicts arose because the settlers had displaced the native inhabitants and then tried to enslave them as labor in the fields. The Portuguese colonials then considered the idea of importing black African slaves to use as manual labor. To this day culture in Northeast Brazil remains fully permeated by this African influence.

The Northeast was the first area of discovery in Brazil, when roughly 1,500 Portuguese arrived on April 22, 1500, under the command of Pedro Álvares Cabral at Porto Seguro, in the state of Bahia.

A view of Olinda

The coast of the Northeast was the stage for the first economic activity of the country, namely the extraction and export of pau Brasil, or brazilwood. Brazilwood was highly valued in Europe where it was used to make violin bows (especially the Pau de Pernambuco variety) and for the red dye it produced. Countries like France, who disagreed with the Treaty of Tordesillas, (a papal bull decreed by the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI in 1493 which sought to divide the South American continent between the Spanish and the Portuguese), launched constant attacks against the coast with the objective of stealing the wood.

French colonists not only tried to settle in present-day Rio de Janeiro, from 1555 to 1567 (the so-called France Antarctique episode), but also in present-day São Luís, from 1612 to 1614 (the so-called France Equinoxiale). The Dutch, also opposed to the Treaty of Tordesillas, plundered the Northeast coast, sacked Bahia in 1604, and even temporarily captured Salvador. From 1630 to 1654 the Dutch set up more permanently in the Northeast and controlled a long stretch of coast that was most accessible to Europe without, however, penetrating the interior. But the colonists of the Dutch West India Company in Brazil were in a constant siege despite the presence in Recife of the great John Maurice of Nassau as governor.

The Historic centre of Salvador, Bahia

Slave resistance began during the colonial era, in the seventeenth century, and eventually led to the formation of quilombos, or settlements of runaway and free-born African slaves. The Quilombo dos Palmares, the largest and most well-known of these settlements, was founded around 1600 in the Serra da Barriga hills, in the present state of Alagoas. Palmares, at the height of its power, was an independent, self-sustaining republic, hosting a population of over 30,000 free African men, women and children. There were over 200 buildings in the community, a church, four smithies, and a council house. Although Palmares managed to defend itself from the Dutch military and the Portuguese colonials for several decades, it was finally taken and destroyed and its leader Zumbi dos Palmares was captured and beheaded. His head was then displayed in a public plaza in Recife.

Besides being Brazil’s main sea port, Brazil's center of the African slave trade, a center of the sugar industry, and the seat of the first Catholic bishop of Brazil (in 1552) the city of Salvador was also the first general seat of government in Brazil as it is strategically located in the center of the eastern coast of the country. The government in Salvador sought to centralize power in an effort to support the various captaincies, geographical subdivisions that preceded the present states of Brazil, which at this time were in a state of crisis. Salvador remained the colonial capital until 1763 when it was succeeded by Rio de Janeiro, the new economic power center of that era.


File:Praiacume do Mucuripe.jpg
Fortaleza is the second largest city of the region.
Natal, is considered by IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research of Brazil), to be the safest state capital city in the country.
The Maracatu, a cultural aspect resulted from the mix between Amerindians, Portuguese and Africans in Northeast Brazil.
City Population (2009)
Salvador 2,998,056
Fortaleza 2,505,552
Recife 1,561,659
São Luís 997,098
Maceió 936,314
Natal 806,203
Teresina 802,537
João Pessoa 702,235
Jaboatão 687,688
Feira de Santana 591,707
Aracaju 544,039

Ethnic groups

The ethnic composition of the Northeast of Brazil compared to other regions

The composition of the Northeast of Brazil compared to other regions of Brazil according to autosomal genetic studies focused on the Brazilian population (which is a whole has been found to be a complex melting pot of European, African and Native Americans components):

A recent autosomal DNA study (2011), with nearly 1000 samples from all over the country ("whites", "pardos" and "blacks"), found out a major European contribution, followed by a high African contribution and an important Native American component.[1] The study showed that Brazilians from different regions are more homogenous than previously thought by some based on the census alone. "Brazilian homogeneity is, therefore, a lot greater between Brazilian regions than within Brazilians region".[2]

Región[1] European African Native American
Northern Brazil 68.80% 10.50% 18.50%
Northeast of Brazil 60.10% 29.30% 8.90%
Southeast Brazil 74.20% 17.30% 7.30%
Southern Brazil 79.50% 10.30% 9.40%

According to an autosomal DNA study from 2010, "a new portrayal of each ethnicity contribution to the DNA of Brazilians, obtained with samples from the five regions of the country, has indicated that, on average, European ancestors are responsible for nearly 80% of the genetic heritage of the population. The variation between the regions is small, with the possible exception of the South, where the European contribution reaches nearly 90%. The results, published by the scientific magazine 'American Journal of Human Biology' by a team of the Catholic University of Brasília, show that, in Brazil, physical indicators such as skin colour, colour of the eyes and colour of the hair have little to do with the genetic ancestry of each person, which has been shown in previous studies"(regardless of census classification)".[3] Ancestry informative SNPs can be useful to estimate individual and population biogeographical ancestry. Brazilian population is characterized by a genetic background of three parental populations (European, African, and Brazilian Native Amerindians) with a wide degree and diverse patterns of admixture. In this work we analyzed the information content of 28 ancestry-informative SNPs into multiplexed panels using three parental population sources (African, Amerindian, and European) to infer the genetic admixture in an urban sample of the five Brazilian geopolitical regions. The SNPs assigned apart the parental populations from each other and thus can be applied for ancestry estimation in a three hybrid admixed population. Data was used to infer genetic ancestry in Brazilians with an admixture model. Pairwise estimates of F(st) among the five Brazilian geopolitical regions suggested little genetic differentiation only between the South and the remaining regions. Estimates of ancestry results are consistent with the heterogeneous genetic profile of Brazilian population, with a major contribution of European ancestry (0.771) followed by African (0.143) and Amerindian contributions (0.085). The described multiplexed SNP panels can be useful tool for bioanthropological studies but it can be mainly valuable to control for spurious results in genetic association studies in admixed populations."[4]

Region[5] European African Native American
Northern Brazil 71.10% 18.20% 10.70%
Northeast of Brazil 77.40% 13.60% 8.90%
Central-West Brazil 65.90% 18.70% 11.80%
Southeast Region, Brazil 79.90% 14.10% 6.10%
Southern Brazil 87.70% 7.70% 5.20%

An autosomal DNA study from 2009 found a similar profile "all the Brazilian samples (regions) lie more closely to the European group than to the African populations or to the Mestizos from Mexico".[6]

Region[7] European African Native American
Northern Brazil 60.6% 21.3% 18.1%
Northeast of Brazil 66.7% 23.3% 10.0%
Central-West Brazil 66.3% 21.7% 12.0%
Southeast Region, Brazil 60.7% 32.0% 7.3%
Southern Brazil 81.5% 9.3% 9.2%

According to another autosomal DNA study from 2008, by the University of Brasília (UnB), European ancestry dominates in the whole of Brazil (in all regions), accounting for 65.90% of heritage of the population, followed by the African contribution (24.80%) and the Native American (9.3%), the European ancestry being the dominant ancestry in all regions including the Northeast of Brazil.[8]

Northeast Region Sub-Divisions

State Symbol Area km2 Municipalities Mesoregions Microregions Population 2009 IBGE HDI 2005 GDP (R$x1000) 2007 IBGE GDP per capita2007 (R$)
Alagoas AL 27,767,661 102 3 13 3,156,108 0.677 17,793,227 5.858
Bahia BA 564,692,669 417 7 32 14,637,364 0.742 109,651,844 7.787
Ceará CE 148,825,602 184 7 33 8,547,809 0.723 50,331,383 6.149
Maranhão MA 331,983,293 217 5 21 6,367,138 0.683 31,606,026 5.165
Paraiba PB 56,439,838 223 4 23 3,769,977 0.718 22,201,750 6.097
Pernambuco PE 98,311,616 185 5 18 8,810,256 0.718 62,255,687 7.337
Piaui PI 251,529,186 223 4 15 3,145,325 0.703 14,135,870 4.662
Rio Grande do Norte RN 52,796,791 167 4 19 3,137,541 0.738 22,925,563 7.607
Sergipe SE 21,910,348 75 3 13 2,019,679 0.742 16,895,691 8.712
Northeast NE 1,558,196,000 1,793 42 187 53,591,197 0.720 347,797,041 6.749


Mossoró city in Rio Grande do Norte is one of the largest onshore petroleum producers in Brazil.

Its economy is mainly based on the production of sugar, cocoa and cotton; as well as the extensive cattle breeding. Some time ago, at São Francisco River Valley (between States of Bahia and Pernambuco), fruits for export started being produced, too. At the seaside and the continental platform of the Region, the main activity is the exploitation of oil, which is later processed in the State of Bahia. Major industries (clothing, food, small machinery) are in the main metropolitan areas of the northeast.

Official reclamation activities have spurred the construction of numerous dams and hydroelectric projects, especially on the São Francisco River. In the 1960s a successful extensive regional economic development program to address social unrest and countereffect its harsh and picturesque history, peopled by leather-garbed cowboys, bandits (cangaceiros), and religious fanatics. Development of tourism is a concerted, ongoing effort.[9] The São Francisco River is responsible for the regional production of energy and it also bathes the states of Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas and Pernambuco. The Northeast is rich in natural beauties with its beaches of clear, warm water. Beyond tourism, the Northeast also develops its industrial sector. Every day, important investors from many countries come to this region to search for new opportunities. The governments try to motivate the inflow of new investment money, based on the needs of its states.[10]

Northeast livestock

According with IBGE 2007, The Nordeste has the 3rd largest livestock portfolio in Brazil, with approximately 16% of the total livestock output.

Animal Bahia Pernambuco Ceará Maranhão Rio G do Norte Sergipe Paraiba Alagoas Piaui Northeast Total BR Ranking & %
Goats 3187839 1595069 976880 379054 401510 17972 636457 67549 1371392 8633722 1st - 91.36%
Sheep 3096155 1256270 1998165 226216 514224 147102 409634 201273 1437219 9286258 1st - 57.19%
Cattle 11385722 2219892 2424290 6609438 1010238 1073692 1139322 1112125 1736520 28711240 4th - 14.38%
Milk x1000lit 965799 662078 416453 335744 214044 251624 170396 242740 76409 3335286 4th - 12.77%
Pigs 1904699 495957 1132673 1485351 182598 97524 143824 144652 1159355 6747013 2nd - 18.77%
Chickens +family 29110700 31916818 24063274 11447837 4817525 6230077 8412925 5714782 10017084 131731022 3rd - 11.69%
Chickens eggs ~ 75216 142518 109464 14771 28729 22577 27480 28955 16721 466432 ~ 3rd - 15.73%
Quails 318585 605371 82813 20903 51741 19235 148656 122297 30600 1400201 2nd - 18.46%
Quails eggs ~ 3788 9390 826 332 838 123 1536 1044 379 18257 ~ 2nd - 13.94%
Horses 621122 125976 141370 174320 42933 68503 49761 56962 149561 1430408 2nd - 25.53%
Donkeys 308904 100944 201079 118577 57955 11445 49528 10704 203876 1063012 1st - 91.39%
Mules 322241 54812 90367 106927 21277 17948 23678 21485 37788 687523 1st - 51.19%
Buffalos 17303 19239 1631 77503 875 380 730 1747 570 119978 3rd - 10.60%
Rabbits 31491 2383 1953 --- 405 --- --- 692 --- 36924 3rd - 12.71%
Honey tonnes 2200 1177 3137 537 611 76 208 170 3483 11598 2nd - 33.38%

~ means dozens of thousands

As demonstrated on the above table, the Northeast region is a larger producer of goats, sheeps, donkeys, mules, horses and has a reasonable production in pigs, honey, cattle and eggs. That is due mainly to the fact that a large portion of the area is located in Poligono das Secas, which means drought poligonal area or knows popularly as sertão and/or agreste. Those areas comprise roughly 66% ( or 81% if discounted the Maranhão state )of all northeast and its characterized to have semi dessertic weather/characteristics such as: hot and dry temperatures, drought, lack and scant rainfall, eroded soil and high evapotranspiration. Even so, those farmers (in many cases subsistence farmers) are increasing their output by turning to more resistant species like as goats and sheeps (very appreciated in the local culinary), and more workable animals as horses, donkeys and mules to replace and help them to do the machinery tasks, if they do have none.


Portuguese language is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum.

Educational institutions

  • Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA);
  • Universidade Federal de Alagoas (UFAL);
  • Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE);
  • Universidade Federal da Paraíba (UFPB);
  • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN);
  • Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC);
  • and many others.

Tourism and recreation

2007 Carnival at Pátio de São Pedro square in Recife

Tourism has grown significantly in the Region in the last decades, showing the high potential of each State.

Besides the capitals, most coastal cities of the Northeast Region have many natural beauties, such as the Abrolhos Marine National Park, Itacaré, Comandatuba Island, Costa do Sauípe, Canasvieiras and Porto Seguro, in the State of Bahia; the Marine National Park of Fernando de Noronha, Porto de Galinhas beach in the State of Pernambuco; tropical paradises, such as Canoa Quebrada and Jericoacoara, on the coast of Ceará, as well as the places to practice free flight, as Quixadá and Sobral; and Lençóis Maranhenses, embellishing the coast of Maranhão State, among many others. In the interior area, National Parks of Serra da Capivara and Sete Cidades, both in the State of Piauí; João Pessoa, in the State of Paraíba; Chapada Diamantina, in the State of Bahia; and many other attractions.

The economy is based on tourism (in coastal or historical cities) or agriculture. The tourist industry is based largely on the beaches, which attract thousands of tourists per year, not only from other regions of Brazil but also many from Europe (especially Italy, Portugal, Germany, France, United Kingdom and Spain), the United States, and Australia.

Urban areas and rural areas

Nordeste's major cities are almost all on the Atlantic coast. Some exceptions can be seen, however, like Petrolina, Pernambuco, which lies immediately north of the São Francisco River (one of the few rivers that crosses the sertão and does not dry in the arid periods of time which can be quite long). Another example is the city of Teresina in the state of Piauí, a city notorious for its sweltering heat.

Good rural areas are scarce and generally they are all near the coast, or in the west of Maranhão, and are mainly used for exportation products. In the semi-arid areas of the Northeast Region, rural areas do exist, but rain is scarce in the region; rural areas in the interior are generally based on subsistence agriculture. Fazendas (large farms) are common in the interior, where cattle-rasing and the cultivation of tropical fruit is often practiced. Also, in the areas where water is scarce local politicians often use the promise of irrigation projects as a bargaining chip to win elections.


A Frevo dancer in Recife

Nordeste has a rich culture, with its unique constructions in the old centers of Salvador, Recife and Olinda, dance (frevo and maracatu), music (axé and forró) and unique cuisine. Dishes particular to the region include carne de sol, farofa, acarajé, vatapá, paçoca, canjica, pamonha, moqueca capixaba, quibebe, bolo de fubá cozido, sururu de capote and many others. Salvador was the first Brazilian capital.

The festival of São João (Saint John), one of the festas juninas, is especially popular in the Northeast, particularly in Caruaru, in the state of Pernambuco and Campina Grande, in the state of Paraíba. The festival takes place once a year, in June. As the Northeast is mostly arid or semi-arid the Nordestinos give thanks to Saint John for the rainfall that typical falls this time of year, which greatly helps the farmers with their crops. And because this time of year also coincides with the corn harvest many regional dishes containing corn, such as canjica, pamonha, and milho verde, have become part of the cultural tradition.

The Bumba-Meu-Boi festival is also popular, especially in the state of Maranhão. During the Bumba-Meu-Bói festival in the city of São Luis do Maranhão and its environs there are many different groups, with elaborate costumes and different styles of music, which are called sotaques: sotaque de orquestra, as the names implies, uses an orchestra of saxophones, clarinets, flutes, banjos, drums, etc.; sotaque de zabumba employs primarily very large drums; and sotaque de matraca, a percussion instrument made of two pieces of wood that you carry in your hands and hit against each other. Some matracas are very large and are carried around the neck.

Many major cities in the Northeast also hold an off-season carnaval (or "micareta"), such as the Carnatal in Natal or the Fortal in Fortaleza. Since its inception in 1991, Carnatal has become the largest off-season carnaval in Brazil. The event takes place once a year, in December, and draws roughly one million participants. The Fortal takes place once every year as well but in the month of July. Held in a stadium called Cidade Fortal, the Fortal is considered the largest indoor off-season carnaval in Brazil.


International airports

Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport is located in an area of more than 6 million square meters between sand dunes and native vegetation. The road route to the airport has already become one of the city’s main scenic attractions. The airport’s use has been growing at an average of 14% a year and now is responsible for more than 30% of passenger movement in Brazil’s Northeast. Nearly 35 thousand people circulate daily through the passenger terminal. The airport generates more than 16 thousand direct and indirect jobs, to serve a daily average of over 10 thousand passengers, 250 takeoffs and landings of 100 domestic and 16 international flights.

In addition to domestic and regional services, the airport has non-stop flights to Lisbon, Madrid, Frankfurt, Montevideo, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Asunción and Miami. Its IATA airport code is SSA and it is the sixth busiest airport in the country, the first in northeastern Brazil, behind Congonhas International, Guarulhos International, Juscelino Kubitschek International, Santos Dumont Regional and Galeão International.

Guararapes International Airport in Recife

Guararapes International Airport. The new Recife/Guararapes – Gilberto Freyre International Airport has been open since July 2004 and has 52 thousand square meters of area. The largest airport in the North and Northeast regions, Guararapes had its capacity expanded from 1.5 million to 5 million passengers a year. There are currently 64 check-in counters, versus the former terminal’s 24. The shopping and leisure area was also totally remodeled, within the “Aeroshopping” concept, which transforms an airport into a center for business, comfort and high-quality products and services. The commercial spaces will be occupied in steps and the final total will be 142 shops. Since 2000, Recife has had the longest runway in the Northeast, at 3,305 meters. Its extension permits operations with jumbo jets, such as the Boeing 747-400, which can carry 290 passengers and 62 tons of cargo, with endurance to fly nonstop to anywhere in South and Central America, Africa and parts of Europe, the United States and Canada. Current domestic destinations include most major cities in Brazil, and there are also international flights to Paris, France, Lisbon, Portugal and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Pinto Martins International Airport is situated in Fortaleza. The passenger terminal is air conditioned and has four levels. The basement level has parking for 1,000 cars as well as automatic teller machines and a stop for regular city buses.

The ground level has 31 check-in counters, airline offices, car rental agencies, special tourist information, a juvenile court bureau to facilitate travel of minors, a National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) office, information counter, passenger arrival area and access to two taxi stops.

The second level contains shops, a food court and domestic and international boarding lounges. The top floor has a beer garden and panoramic deck overlooking the maneuvering apron with a view of the Fortaleza skyline. The apron is 152,857 square meters and can accommodate 14 aircraft at once in pre-established positions (“boxes”).

The scheduled airlines operating out of Fortaleza are Cabo Verde Airlines (code-sharing with TAP), TAM, Varig, TAP, Delta Air Lines, Alitalia, Livingston and TUI Airlines. The airport also frequently receives domestic and international flights, some of them charters. The passenger terminal, opened in 1998, was designed to have a useful life of 50 years. The former terminal, called the General Aviation Terminal, is now used for general aviation and the fire brigade. The control tower is located alongside.

Construction of a cargo terminal is the next big step planned by Infraero. The new terminal will have roughly eight thousand square meters, boosting the cargo storage and handling capacity fourfold. Plans then call for the new terminal to be integrated with highway and railroad links.


The Northeast of Brazil is home to some of the most notable Brazilians, such as:

  • José Ermírio de Moraes, entrepreneur, founder of the Votorantim Group, the Votorantim Group is one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Latin America, operating in various sectors such as finance, energy, siderurgy, steel, pulp and paper among others;
  • Ruy Barbosa, one of the most important Brazilian intellectuals;
  • Aurélio Buarque de Holanda, author of the most widely Portuguese Dictionary adopted and cited in Brazil; since its publication, it was so often referred to, that its very name became incorporated as an Idiom into the Language, as a source of reliability of information regarding concepts in dispute;
  • Maurício Peixoto, brilliant mathematician, he pioneered the studies on structural stability, and he is the author of the Peixoto's theorem;
  • Luís da Câmara Cascudo, the most important folklorist of the country;
  • Paulo Freire, educator and an influential theorist of Critical Pedagogy;
  • Carlos Paz de Araújo, Brazilian scientist and inventor, he holds nearly 600 patents in the area of nanotechnology;
  • Nelson Rodrigues, one of the greatest Brazilian playwrighters, revered to this day as the founder of Brazil's Modern Theater, he was a revolutionary creator, with a penchant for the deep Psychological Profile of Characters. One of his most controversial works was "Vestido de Noiva" (1943), which introduced a totally different concept in Narrative Style, both timeless and simultaneous, presenting the action in its three planes (Hallucination-Dream, Reality and Memory) at the same time, this way blewing the old chronologically structure. His brought an innovation in Theater yet to be rivalled, much copied worldwide, both in Cinema and in Theaters - but never properly credited. He was born in Recife, PE;
  • Glauber Rocha, one of the most important Movie Directors in the Country, born in Bahia, which creativeness and bold, imaginative solutions influenced many world directors afterwards;
  • Clóvis Beviláqua, considered to be one of the most important Brazilian Jurists, author of the Brazilian Civil Code of 1916;
  • Mário Schenberg, physicist;
  • Jorge Amado, for over 50 years, the most famous Brazilian Writer, whose work only recently was surpassed in sales worldwide by the bestsellers penned by Paulo Coelho;
  • José de Alencar, a very important writer from the XIX Century, whose work is a stepping stone for most of the Modern Brazilian Literature;
  • Luíza Erundina, of humble background, she became the first female mayor of São Paulo;
  • Rachel de Queiroz, writer; the first woman to become part of the Academia Brasileira de Letras;
  • Ferreira Gullar, Brazilian poet, one of the founders of Neoconcretismo;
  • Assis Chateaubriand, media conglomerate owner, one of the most influential personalities in Brazil in the XX century, he founded the first television network of Latin America and the fifth in the world (Tupi TV); he is also known for having founded MASP (São Paulo Museum of Art);
  • João Cabral de Melo Neto, a remarkable Brazilian Writer and Poet, whose body of work is a solid reference to the hardships of the local people endures;
  • Gilberto Freyre, Brazilian Sociologist, author of a definitive work about the structure of Brazil's Social Relations, the "Casa Grande & Senzala", an obligatory source of the origins of the intrincated Social & Ethnics in the Country;
  • Paulo Ribenboim, Brazilian Mathematician;
  • Celso Furtado, notable Economist, who while in exile was guest teacher in the University of Sorbonne, in Paris, France;
  • Nísia Floresta, pioneer of feminism in Brasil;
  • Pontes de Miranda, jurist;
  • Anísio Teixeira, a remarkable Educator, pioneer of many strategies for Education to reach all levels of Society, not only those able to pay to attend elite schools;
  • Pirajá da Silva, responsible for the identification of the cycle of the Schistosomiasis;
  • Teixeira de Freitas, jurist, author of a Brazilian Civil Code sketch which would influence other neighbouring South American countries.
  • Gregório de Matos, a notable Poet;
  • Gonçalves Dias, poet;
  • Ariano Suassuna, a remarkable playwrighter, which work has been focus of a recent revival, via TV and Cinema adaptations;
  • Luiz Gonzaga, a very influential, seminal musician, author of many successes, including "Asa Branca", with Humberto Teixeira;
  • Gilberto Gil, musician
  • Alceu Valença, musician
  • Raul Seixas, musician
  • Caetano Veloso, musician
  • Dorival Caymmi, musician
  • Sílvio Romero, folklorist
  • Graciliano Ramos, important Brazilian writer
  • Castro Alves, Brazilian poet
  • Geraldo Vandré, one of the most notable Musicians during the mid-60's, author of many songs against the then dictatorship imposed in the country. Among the many are: "Disparada"; "Aroeira" and his most famous composition, "Pra Não Dizer que Não Falei das Flores (also known as "Caminhando" - or "Walking")", which lead to his arrest, torture and forced exile from the Country;
  • Hermeto Pascoal, notable worldwide famous and influential Musician, creator of a revolutionary style and approach to Music, born in Arapiraca, Alagoas;
  • Graça Aranha, writer
  • Aluísio de Azevedo, writer, precursor of the modern, urban Literature;
  • Martha Vasconcellos, Miss Universe in 1968
  • Martha Rocha, famous Miss Brazil
  • Adriana Lima, famous international model
  • Norberto Odebrecht, entrepreneur from the Building Industry;
  • Padre Cícero, the most historically important and revered Spiritual Leader of the whole Region to this very day, believed to be a Miracle Man, a Saint and who is still unanimously and widely worshipped in the Northeast, beyond any boundaries, Religious or otherwise. No other name can unite the whole Region as this "Santo Homem";
  • Lampião, most famous leader of a Cangaço band, marauders and outlaws who defied the authorities of Brazilian Northeast in the 1920s and 1930s. He was considered a Fair figure by the people, and a feared, charismatic Public Leader by the legal authorities;
  • Casimiro Montenegro Filho, founder of the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA);
  • Zumbi, a Freedom Fighter, leader of Brazil's most important Quilombo, the "Quilombo of Palmares";
  • Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, former Brazilian president
  • Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, leader of the Proclamation of the Brazilian Republic;
  • Epitácio Pessoa, former Brazilian president
  • Floriano Peixoto, former Brazilian president
  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former Brazilian president
  • José Sarney, former president

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